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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Kearneysville, West Virginia » Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory » Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection » Research » Research Project #427977

Research Project: Robotics for Agriculture

Location: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection

Project Number: 8080-21000-030-05-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2015
End Date: Mar 31, 2020

The objective of this project is to explore topics of mutual interest concerning robotics and their application to agriculture. Specific objectives include improving and evaluating hand-eye, robot-world calibration and/or mobile robotics for agriculture.

Research into robotics for agriculture has been ongoing at the Appalachian Fruit Research Station (AFRS). Currently, a mobile robotic system has been developed for three-dimensional modeling of trees in the orchard using digital cameras. While it is still under development, this system will be used in the future for either phenotype classification and/or for automated pruning. The calibration of a robot and camera system is commonly called the hand-eye, robot-world calibration problem. Improved calibration leads to more accurate results, so the hand-eye, robot-world calibration step is an important part of a robotic system. These results may be as varied as improved localization accuracy for reconstruction of tree images as well as for performing tasks such as pruning, where localization accuracy is very important to the success of the application. Mobile robotics may be an important tool for future agricultural applications, including assessments of plant stress and shape for making management decisions. The proliferation of low-cost mobile robots make research into that field more accessible than in the past.